Sparking Literacy

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An outline of core beliefs about the components of a solid literacy program for elementary school.

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Sparking Literacy

  1. 1. Literacy Instruction Literate Learners Sparking
  2. 2. Lighting the Way The Big Ideas
  3. 3. Literacy instruction is an interconnected matrix between speaking, writing, and reading; listening, watching, analysing, critiquing and creating. Literacy instruction is about sparking curiosity and engaging students with stories, ideas, messages, perspectives, concepts, words, letters, and sounds.
  4. 4. Literacy instruction is about communication: It is about giving students a voice by providing them with the confidence and the tools they need to share their ideas with the world. Literacy instruction is about constructing and deconstructing meaning (a forest fire is a destructive force that does yield to new growth and new possibilities). Language is not just about communicating ideas but about is a tool for forming new ways of thinking and knowing (Vygotsky).
  5. 5. Literacy instruction is about celebrating imagination and suspending disbelief while at the same time fostering a healthy mistrust of texts and authors. A good literacy program empowers students to be critical about the texts they encounter: to question the source of ideas and to think about whose voices are heard and whose are not. When students learn to be critical, they learn to think about the author’s message, purpose and bias. (McLaughlin 2012)
  6. 6. Striking Flint against Steel The Application
  7. 7. Best Practise in Literacy Instruction is possible when:
  8. 8. There is a balance between Modeled, Shared, Guided and Independent: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Creating. The classroom is a place where speaking is valued and where oral communication is recognised as a gateway to reading and writing.
  9. 9. The classroom is a place where, with teacher support, students participate actively in co- creating meaning by facilitating discussions, asking questions, judging each other's answers, clarifying ideas, and connecting ideas across contexts (Resnitskaya 2013). There is interplay between accountable talk, comprehension strategies, vocabulary development, phonological and phonemic awareness, metacognition, critical analysis and learning skills.
  10. 10. The classroom is a place where instruction is designed around the strengths, needs, and interests of students. There is a community of co-learners where the teacher does not always position themself as "the expert" but instead models curiosity, risk-taking, flexibility and learning from mistakes. In this community the teacher plays the role of coach and facilitator, prompting and guiding students, and tries, wherever possible to share power and ownership over the learning process.
  11. 11. The classroom is a place where diverse texts, interconnected curriculums, rich questions, meaningful activities and real world connections make learning engaging for all learners. The classroom is a place where thinking is made visible and where big ideas, learning goals and success criteria are co-created and accessible to teachers, students, parents and other members of the school community.
  12. 12. The classroom is a place where assessment via conversation, reading conferences, writing samples and observations, drives instruction and where the teacher provides timely, meaningful and specific feedback that helps students move along the learning continuum. The classroom is a place where students develop self- efficacy, where they expect to be challenged, to meet the challenges, to set goals and work towards achieving these goals (Afflerbach Et al. 441)

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